"Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile I caught hell for."
—Chief Justice Earl Warren
Earl Warren celebrated his 75th birthday this month, saluted by newspaper editorials calling him the greatest Chief Justice since John Marshall.
Just seven months after he joined the Court in 1953, Warren wrote the Brown opinion that ended school segregation. That was the first in a long line of important—and controversial—decisions.
The Warren Court has elevated the principle of “one person, one vote.” It has dramatically expanded civil liberties like freedom of speech, religion and the press. And it has guarded the rights of criminal defendants.
“Was it fair?” Warren often asks.
His critics accuse Warren of reading his own views into the Constitution rather than sticking to the Framers' intent. Angry billboards reading “Impeach Earl Warren” have cropped up across the country.
Agree with him or not, Earl Warren is leaving his imprint on the Constitution.